Oil exports must resume, Libya tells foreign firms
TRIPOLI – Libya has asked foreign firms to resume oil exports from the North African nation, saying its ports are safe despite a deadly month-long conflict, state television said on Sunday.
“Libyan oil terminals have become safe… All employees are asked to return to their jobs in all oil facilities. And we urge (foreign) firms to send their tankers to load and unload,” the television said quoting the National Oil Corporation.
Oil giant Total said on Friday that unrest in Libya had slashed output by 1.4 million barrels a day to under 300,000.
Libya was producing 1.69 barrels a day before the unrest, according to the International Energy Agency. Of this 1.2 million were exported, mostly to Europe. Other major customers are China and the United States.
Rebels fighting to unseat Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi have lost control of the key oil towns of Zawiya and Ras Lanuf to loyalist forces who drove them out with intense air strikes and shelling.
The insurgents have been also forced out of the towns of Uqayla and Brega.
Libya’s oil chief, Shukri Ghanem, said operations at the Zawiyah refinery resumed on Thursday.